County Buys Rail Right Of Way As First Step To Link Up Trails
Snohomish County has taken the first step toward linking the 17.5-mile Centennial Trail to Skagit County as part of an overall plan for a 43-mile trail.
The county has authorized the purchase of a small part of the abandoned Burlington Northern railroad right of way north of Arlington, the first portion north of that city. The cost is $16,450.
The trail originally was planned from Snohomish to Arlington.
But Parks Director Ron Martin said the county has offered Burlington Northern $130,000 to buy its rights for the rest of the segment from Arlington to Skagit County. That piece would extend the trail another 7.33 miles.
There still are some gaps in ownership of a few spots between Snohomish and Arlington.
Two years ago, a citizen's committee initiated the push for developing the trail. Construction on the first segment, the southernmost leg, will begin Tuesday and should be completed by the end of the year.
Construction on that 7.3-mile section will go from Pine and Maple streets in Snohomish to 20th Street in the Lake Stevens/ Hartford area. It will cost about $1.3 million and will include a 12-foot-wide paved path on the railroad grade and a 6-foot-wide gravel equestrian trail. Parking and restrooms will be placed at several trailheads along the route.
The trail follows the abandoned Sumas branch line of the railroad. In King County, the Burke-Gilman and Lake Sammamish trails also generally follow the abandoned Burlington Northern tracks.
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